If there’s one thing that separates the video game industry from the world of film, it’s that the latter is, by definition, a passive form of entertainment in that moviegoers so often pay a set fee for a pre-packaged story of good triumphing over evil.
But if movies leave us feeling like a curious spectator, then video games go one step further to thrust us into the heart of the experience and, by effect, render us an active participant in the narrative at hand. It’s a powerful, immersive trait, and part of the reason why games are so popular in the first place. Escapism 101, you might say.
Indeed, research shows that many players are attracted to story-driven titles because they offer the chance to be your “ideal self,” which is to say that many pixelated adventures leave us feeling empowered and, frankly, badass—Mario saves Peach, Blazkowicz shoots some Nazis, and round and round we go.
There is, of course, nuance to the hero’s journey, but for the purpose of this article, and in honor of Star Wars Battlefront II, we’re going to shift the focus over to those titles that placed us in control of the villain. Playing as an anti-hero is one thing (see: Devil May Cry, The Darkness et. al), but the gallery below is teeming with good old-fashioned villainy. Because sometimes it’s good to be bad.
Star Wars Battlefront II is now available on all platforms, and in the face of growing controversy, EA has pulled all microtransactions…for now.